COMPLETION of the multimillion pound East Cliff stabilisation programme in Lyme Regis is now in sight, experts have said.

The latest phase of West Dorset District Council’s environmental improvements scheme is working to stabilise the slope at Church Cliff and East Cliff, protecting homes, businesses, roads, and utilities.

Work on Phase IV began in April 2013 with construction work estimated to take two years. Residents were updated on the works progress at a Coastal Forum Meeting last Thursday.

Key features of the scheme include a new sea wall, a new pathway from the car park to the sea wall, soil nailing, rock armour, and drainage.

West Dorset District Council principal engineer for the works, Nick Browning, told the public meeting: “Having worked hard over the last 12 months placing 6,100m3 of concrete, 350 tonnes of steel enforcement and 34km of soil nails, the end of the project is now in sight.

Charmouth Road car park will be returned to full public use in stages from July. The heavy construction work will be completed by the end of August, and landscaping and planting will be finished by Christmas.”

Significant progress has been made on the slipway access ramps and turning head with the two sets of intermediate stairs now almost at full height, Mr Browning added.

Jon Cartwright from main contractor Dean and Dyball said they expect to finish the sea wall in four weeks.

At the meeting, concerns were raised about the steepness of the footpath from Charmouth Road car park, but Mr Browning told the public the footpath was centred around ecologically sensitive areas and therefore no more land could be taken up to level the footpath.

He added: “At times when the landslips are active the road will need to be closed.”

Fencing will be put around the footpath to deter people from climbing into nearby gardens and homes.

Key features of the scheme

- The new sea wall will deflect waves back to the sea to prevent erosion of the cliffs and include a pedestrian walkway with seating.

- 400 tonnes of rock armour from the Mendips will protect the eastern end of the new sea wall.

- 2,500 soil nails will be drilled into the coastal cliff to pin the unstable material near the surface to the deeper, more stable material.

- Drainage measuring 20 to 25 metres will be installed just above the new sea wall. Eight-metre piles on East Cliff will enhance the stability of the cliff above the soil nails and assist with protection of the sea wall.

- 25-metre piles below Charmouth Road car park and throughout the allotments will prevent landslips progressing inland and protect the SSSI.

- A coastal viewing area just below Charmouth Road car park will include a footpath with planting and seating.